We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  Each week we take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill.  Tune in Tuesdays at 2:40 p.m. to listen to us answer your question.

What happens with Bryson Stott when Didi Gregorius comes off of the Injured Lilst? Is Didi tradable? It doesn't seem so.
~Kerri

The Phillies are likely to send shortstop Didi Gregorius on a minor league rehab assignment in the coming days.  Gregorius suffered a left knee sprain and has not played since May 4.  Bryson Stott has taken his place after a hot stretch at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  It's likely Stott will head back to Triple-A.

The reason Stott went back to Triple-A was to get at bats and play every day.  He was not doing that in Philadelphia after the emergence of Alec Bohm at third base, and due to a cold bat.  Since returning to Philadelphia, Stott's bat is as cold as when he headed to Triple-A.

Upon being optioned, Stott was batting just .133 in 30 at bats. Stott walked three times in his first stint in the major leagues.  The numbers have not changed much in Stott's second go-round.

In 31 at bats since being recalled - a very similar sample size - Stott has batted .129.  In his last seven games, Stott is hitting .111.  With that lack of production, the Phillies have had to play Johan Camargo more often.

So I think that upon his return, Gregorius will resume the shortstop position.  Without Stott producing yet - and there's no reason to think he won't at some point - the Phillies will keep Gregorius at shortstop.  And as we saw already, an injury could occur and Stott come right back.

That depth is better than trading Gregorius.

Would the team be better off letting Garrett Stubbs play two or three times per week rather than let J.T. Realmuto continue to hurt the lineup right now? Is it possible he does not come out of this slump and hits below .230 this season?
~Greg

It's very fair to say that Garrett Stubbs has been a really nice story so far in the early going.  In 10 games and 25 at bats, Stubbs is batting a lusty .400, with one home run, three RBI, and an OPS of 1.144.  But let's be clear: the backup catcher can be overexposed.

It's fair to say that the Phillies should be getting more out of J.T. Realmuto.  After signing a five-year, $115.5 million contract, the Phillies expected that Realmuto would be the type of player that would carry a team.  With Bryce Harper on the shelf this past week, Realmuto's struggles were extra evident.

The highest-paid catcher by annual value in major league history should be better than .232.

One thing that has hurt Realmuto so far is that he is seeing less time as the designated hitter as we might have expected.  The DH was to be a rotation to give players days off.  With Harper's injury locking him in at DH, that position has seldom gone to anyone else.

But I think you're right: the backup catcher should play more.

Realmuto's minor injuries the last couple seasons suggest that he could have benefited from a couple days off here and there throughout the season. Since Stubbs has happened to be productive (and honestly, this is true even if not so much), Realmuto could rest against some tougher righties in favor of the left-handed backup Stubbs.

The more Stubbs plays, the more likely it is he will be exposed.  Stubbs historically has not hit much in his 51 major league games for the Astros the previous three seasons.  But should he play more? Yes.

Why do the Phillies only seem to hit when they’re away from Citizens Bank Park?
~J.P.

This is a great question, J.P.  It's not that the Phillies "seem" to be better on the road than at home.  The numbers say that they have been a better team on the road compared to home.

The Phillies have played 24 games at home and 18 games on the road so far.  Here is how the numbers break down.

Home:

  • .239 batting average
  • 20 home runs
  • .297 on base percentage
  • .372 slugging percentage
  • .669 OPS

Road:

  • .262 batting average
  • 28 home runs
  • .331 on base percentage
  • .461 slugging percentage
  • .792 OPS

What could be the explanation for this?

I'm sure it didn't help that Harper was absent for most of the recent homestand, accounting for roughly 25% of the games at home.   Gregorius missed the entire homestand.

The last two homestands also coincided with cold bats from Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber.

Could it be that these few things helped contribute to this?  Could it have been they faced better pitching at home than on the road?  Did their starters coming back from injury make more starts at home than the road?

There is so much we could dig into to try to explain this.  But before we do, let's realize this is a small sample size.  Another homestand that's good could change the numbers in a significant way   But at least so far, you're not wrong: the numbers say so.